Paco de Lucia, who revolutionized flamenco guitar and influenced musicians around the world, will be laid to rest this weekend in his native Algeciras, after a public wake expected to attract a massive crowd to the Southern Spanish city. Since de Lucia’s sudden death Wednesday while vactioning in Mexico, artists have paid tribute to the man and his music.
“The Maestro King of Gypsy Flamenco Music is in heaven NOW,” tweeted Carlos Santana. who added the words “touch the sky” in Spanish.
The Maestro King of Gypsy Flamenco Music is in heaven NOW Paco de Lucia I love you with all my heart Rascale en el cielo
— Carlos Santana (@SantanaCarlos) February 26, 2014
Alejandro Sanz, the Spanish superstar known for his flamenco-flavored pop, also took to social media when he heard of De Lucia’s death.
“Silence … my soul has split in half,” Sanz wrote on his Twitter, one of a series of messages he sent to his nearly 11 million followers. “A genius has left us #PacoLives.”
John McLaughlin, who recorded the historic 1981 live album “A Night in San Francisco” with de Lucia and Al DiMeola, sent an emotional statement to the media.
“To have worked and played music with him is one the greatest blessings in my life,” McLaughlin said in an emotional statement to the media. “To say I will miss him is an understatement. In the place where he lived in my heart, there is now an emptiness that will stay with me till I join him.”
DiMeola posted a vintage photo of himself with the Spaniard on Facebook with the caption, “My dear friend has passed and we will never forget his important legacy ! My years with Paco were amazing and unforgettable! I will miss him terribly:((“
Chick Corea joined those jazz greats in mourning de Lucia’s passing, tweeting that de Lucia “inspired me in the construction of my own musical world as much as Miles Davis and John Coltrane.”
“Paco inspired me in the construction of my own musical world as much as Miles Davis and John Coltrane.”—Chick pic.twitter.com/VKP4Y4UG92
— Chick Corea (@ChickCorea) February 26, 2014
“Paco de Lucia will always play a big role in the overall history of music,” Rodrigo Sanchez of the speed guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela told Billboard. “Paco was not only one of the best guitarists ever, he was also one of the most compelling composers of the last 100 years.”
Tomatito, the acclaimed flamenco guitarist who takes the mantel from de Lucia with his passing, was beyond words:
Hoy no hay palabras…..
— Tomatito (@Tomatito6) February 26, 2014
Enrique Iglesias posted a quote from de Lucia on Twitter: “I didn’t study music. I literally lived it,” he wrote.
In a personal tribute pubblished in Spain’s El Pais newspaper, producer Javier Limon called him “Very probably the best guitarist of all time.” Limon recently tweeted that Keith Richards told him he wanted to do a duet with de Lucia.
Among Spanish artists of every genre, homages to de Lucia were widespread.
“He is one of the few who in few years attained a level of excellence that others don’t achieve in an entire lifetime,” legendary Spanish rocker Enrique Bunbury told Billboard. “The world has become an orphan [having lost] the art and soul of one of the few musicians of whom one can say, out loud and without mistake, that was undoubtedly a genius.”
According to reports published in Spain Thursday, de Lucia’s body was being flown from Mexico for a possible public viewing in Madrid before coming to a final rest in Algeciras. After the public wake there, the burial will be private.
“His cultural legacy will keep feeding many generations in the future,” Jesus Lopez, chairman of Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula. said in a statement. “Who will have the pleasure of enjoying the genius work of a virtuoso artist and a good man. Today the immortality of the great Paco de Lucia begins, let’s celebrate it with respect and joy.”
De Lucia left behind a finished, yet unreleased album. His 30th production is titled “Canciones Andaluzas” (Andalusian Songs). According to El Pais, it was scheduled to come out in Spain in April.